Robert Ashley joins Charles Amirkhanian, Richard Friedman, and William Maraldo for a discussion about his modern opera, “That Morning Thing”, which was scheduled to be debuted just two days after this recording was made on December 6, 1969. The program begins with a rather detailed description of the opera or work of musical theater, which had no singing, per se, but instead was scored for multiple speakers, many of them prerecorded, and several dancers. The inspiration of the piece, according to Ashley, was his understanding that the early morning hours were often the most dangerous for those seriously ill or contemplating suicide, and that for everybody else, they were a time in which one had to reconstruct oneself in order to face the day. Ashley also discusses his life long interest in opera and his preference for music that involves the human voice and the written word rather than for more abstract or pure forms of music as represented by the sonata or symphony. The four also talk about how Ashely’s work represents a new type of opera or music theater. The program concludes with a discussion of Ashley’s collaboration with George Manupelli on a number of film scores.
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